Geert Wilders Isn’t Really Interested in Governing

French and Dutch nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders deliver a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015
French and Dutch nationalist party leaders Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders deliver a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015 (European Parliament)

The absence of a serious manifesto did not suggest that the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders had any intention of governing after the election on Wednesday. Now two former elected officials of his Freedom Party have confirmed that he isn’t interested in power — especially the responsibility that comes with it. Read more

Wilders Bleeds Support to Christian Democrats, Socialists

Dutch Christian Democrat leader Sybrand van Haersma Buma arrives in Brussels for a summit of European conservative party leaders, October 15, 2015
Dutch Christian Democrat leader Sybrand van Haersma Buma arrives in Brussels for a summit of European conservative party leaders, October 15, 2015 (EPP)

I reported here the other day that Geert Wilders’ nationalist Freedom Party is losing support in the Netherlands.

Now we know where his voters are going.

The national broadcaster NOS reports that the nationalists are bleeding support to the Christian Democrats on the one hand and the far-left Socialists on the other. Read more

Invisible and Unhinged, Wilders Loses Support in Netherlands

Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders listens during a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders listens during a news conference in Brussels, June 16, 2015 (European Parliament)

Geert Wilders’ strategy of not showing up isn’t doing his Freedom Party much good.

Support for the party, which wants to take the Netherlands out of the European Union and stop immigration from Muslim countries, has gone down in the polls from a 21-percent high in December to 16 percent today. Read more

Dutch Freedom Party Leader Cancels Second Election Debate

Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders attends a memorial ceremony in Almelo, March 2, 2015
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders attends a memorial ceremony in Almelo, March 2, 2015 (RTV Oost/Rogier van den Berg)

Are all populists so thin-skinned?

The Dutch Donald Trump, Geert Wilders, canceled his participation in an election debate organized by RTL in two weeks’ time after its news division published an interview with the politician’s older brother on Sunday.

The Freedom Party leader called the interview “incredibly vile,” but his brother hasn’t exactly shied away from the media. He even contributed to a left-wing opinion website for a while. Read more

Dutch Parties Tried to Co-opt Populists and Failed

Dutch party leaders Maxime Verhagen, Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders answer questions from reporters in The Hague, September 30, 2010
Dutch party leaders Maxime Verhagen, Mark Rutte and Geert Wilders answer questions from reporters in The Hague, September 30, 2010 (Rijksoverheid)

The reason even right-wing parties in the Netherlands have ruled out forming a government with the nativist Freedom Party after the election next month is that they tried to make it work before — and failed. Read more

Nativist Freedom Party Draws Support from Dutch Periphery

Evening falls in Maastricht, the Netherlands, January 5, 2009
Evening falls in Maastricht, the Netherlands, January 5, 2009 (Bert Kaufmann)

Support for the nationalist Freedom Party rises the farther away one travels from the commercial and political heartland of the Netherlands on the North Sea coast, a recent survey shows.

The anti-EU and anti-immigrant party led by Geert Wilders receives around 20 percent support nationwide, but there are regional differences. Read more

Wilders’ Negativity an Opportunity for Optimist Rutte

Dutch liberal party leader Mark Rutte arrives at the prime minister's office in The Hague, October 14, 2010
Dutch liberal party leader Mark Rutte arrives at the prime minister’s office in The Hague, October 14, 2010 (Rijksoverheid)

Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders may have just dictated the terms on which the Dutch election next year will be fought — and under which his rival, the incumbent prime minister Mark Rutte, is more likely to be prevail.

I wrote earlier this year that echoes of America’s presidential election could be heard in the Netherlands: Wilders shares an under-siege rhetoric and unceremonious style of politics with Donald Trump; Rutte, like Hillary Clinton, celebrates the country the Netherlands is, rather than it used to be, and represents consensus and a respect for political norms.

Those differences were driven home last week, when Wilders was found guilty of inciting discrimination by a panel of three judges for promising “fewer Moroccans” in the city of The Hague. Read more